NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Wednesday that ISIS could revive itself following the US withdrawal in Syria.
In a press conference setting the agenda for an upcoming, high-level NATO meeting, Stoltenberg said the fight against IS must continue.
“Ending IS was the reason NATO went in (to northeastern Syria). We have to preserve those gains,” he said. “We also have to understand that the fight against ISIS is not over; they can come back.”
Stoltenberg said NATO would continue to support the fight against ISIS in both Iraq and Afghanistan, especially through the training of local forces.
Stoltenberg repeatedly called for a political solution to the conflict between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds, addressing agreements between the US, Turkey and Russia. He said he:
- understood that Turkey had shouldered a great burden of terrorist attacks and hosting refugees;
- felt it was too early to judge the consequences of the Sochi agreement between Russia and Turkey;
- welcomed the agreement between Turkey and the US, saying reducing violence was the first step to a political solution;
- welcomed the German defense minister’s recent calls for an international presence in northeastern Syria as an encouraging proposal for a political solution, adding that any solution would have to involve actors on the ground.